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Eighth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival to feature concerts, classes and cultural activities

By Staff | Mar 24, 2016

Alan Akaka (left) performed with Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi at the 2015 festival. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JULIE HENDRIKS.

KAANAPALI – The eighth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will be held on April 15-17, 2016 at Kaanapali Beach Hotel. This free event features master Hawaiian steel guitar players from around the world performing and teaching the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii.

Headliners include Alan Akaka, Jeff Au Hoy, Bobby Ingano, Japan’s Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi, Patti Maxine from California, Owana Salazar, Greg Sardinha, Hilo steel guitarist Dwight Tokumoto, and Maui steel guitarists Sam Ako, Joel Katz and Geri Valdriz.

“The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar and to preserve and perpetuate it,” said Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, the nonprofit organization presenting the event.

Celebrities Kimo Kahoano and Kathy Collins will co-emcee both the Friday and Saturday evening ho’olaule’a programs. Each program will feature a different lineup of players in concert. Kani ka pila (jam sessions) follow, and the public is welcome to participate (bring your own instruments).

Open stage performances take place during both days with music performed by Hawaiian steel guitar bands from Hawaii, the U.S. Mainland, Japan, New Zealand, and Italy. Group performances will be presented by students from steel guitar schools in Hawaii and Japan.

From left, steel guitarists Shinichi Kakiuchi, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, Malie Lyman and Patti Maxine jam at the 2015 Sunday Brunch.

Saturday workshops include instruction for playing steel guitar, ukulele and slack key; Hawaiian singing; and recording methods. Also on Saturday, cultural activities such as hula, lei making and carving are being offered.

On Sunday, Hawaiian steel guitarists will entertain from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s award-winning Champagne Brunch, the only event during the festival that has a fee. For reservations, call the hotel at (808) 667-0124.

Preceding the festival, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 13-14, two of Hawaii’s great steel guitar masters, Akaka and Sardinha, are conducting the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Camp.

Campers have an option of attending one day at $150 or both days for $200. To encourage students to participate in the camp, scholarships are available. For more information, and to register, visit www.hawaiiansteelguitarcamp.com.

The festival also includes a community outreach in which participating master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform and to teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar.

Presented by Arts Education for Children Group (AECG) and produced by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), the festival is supported by Kaanapali Beach Hotel, The County of Maui and Hawaii Tourism Authority. Funding also comes from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals.

For more information and a complete schedule for the eighth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival, visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com.